Following a five-year campaign by long-time NIF grantee the Adva Center, which is the leading Israeli research institute analyzing issues of economic equity, Finance Minister Yair Lapid has appointed a special committee charged with examining the state budget from a gender perspective.
In Adva’s view, gender analysis of the budget process is necessary for understanding how resources are divided between women and men and whether their distribution addresses their respective needs and priorities. The budget is not just bean counting, but a strategic tool for advancing the status of women and reducing gender inequality, one that has been used effectively in other countries.
As in the U.S., Israeli women earn less than men, and they constitute a majority of those receiving income support and welfare payments. Women and men also make use of public services – education, health, public transportation, and welfare – differently. Adva Center Executive Director Barbara Swirski said: “This has real potential for increasing gender equality; not only for women as a single group but also looking at women from different communities. We hope it will help increase the number of jobs available and give women job opportunities, especially women who have more serious employment problems, for example Arab women and women over the age of 45.”
Finance Minister Yair Lapid said: “The state budget is the clearest reflection of economic priorities in Israel as a state. A gender analysis during the process of budget preparation is an important tool for promoting the status of women and reducing gender inequality in Israeli society.” The committee will commence work immediately and is expected to submit recommendations by May 2014.